The 3 fundamental rules of responsible trekking
Updated: Aug 6
It's a small casual walk in the a quiet valley of the Kirirom National Park. We are almost there. One of the most breathtaking place in the kingdom of Cambodia. I turn to the group, I ask them not the take picture for the first few minutes, just to contemplate, to experience what we are about to witness. After a few hundred meters, we are here, on one of the highest point of view of the park, a young man is throwing a plastic bottle on the edge of the cliff, a sound system is shaking the ground, motorbikes everywhere, and trash, trash all around.
So, you want to go camping, yes it's super, yes it's all about disconnecting from your everyday lifestyle, and yes there are rules to follow. Many bad habits from the city are being witnessed in the forests or jungles of the Kingdom.
For most of you, those rules may sound obvious but many travelers are still not aware of the consequences of their ignorance. Once again, the objective of being responsible is to preserve our environment and to allow other travelers to experience nature to its best.
Zero footprint philosophy
Trash and litter in the backcountry is pilling up in many popular areas. This will greatly detract from the naturalness of an area and could potentially cause greater environmental damage. If no trash receptacles are available, carry out all trash from what you have brought in. Here is a good tip for you: if you don't want to carry trash with you when you travel, do not bring single use plastic or other middle-age containers with you when you travel, easy. Furthermore, fecal waste requires proper disposal: bring biodegradable toilet paper or wet wipes. Bury it at a certain distance from both paths and camps sites.
Do not disturb the wildlife
We already have our cities to dominate other species and disregard silence. So, when you are in this nice forest or jungle, there is a simple rule: keep quiet ! Be considerate, do not bring your sound system, you are not alone. Maintaining quiet allows you and your group to go through the wilderness with minimal impact on the land you are visiting.
Don’t put yourself at risk
Plan ahead and prepare: poorly prepared people, when presented with unexpected situations, often resort to high-impact solutions that degrade the outdoors or put themselves at risk. Proper planning leads to less impact: learn navigation basic, tell where you go, be aware of the specific danger of the area, check the weather, know where is the nearest medical facility and pack carefully.
Yes it's painful to see beautiful places spoiled by inconsiderate behaviors, yes trash is piling up all around, yes you can hear loud music in the middle of the wild because someone decided the sound of nature was not enough. But, you can change that. Teach your group the good habits of responsible trekking. Do not just bring back an average picture of you in the jungle, bring back a responsible experience.